Selfie: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media site.
[Source: the Oxford English Dictionary]
Top: Michelle Heaton, Holly Willoughby and Kym Marsh in their no-makeup selfies. Below: how they usually appear
With hair done, make-up complete, and arm raised above head at just the right angle, it's time to take a photograph of the complete look using a smartphone, before going out. Following a number of attempts, the most flattering photograph would be selected to be posted to a Facebook wall or Tweet. At weekends these photographs are a common feature on many status updates. Photographically these images can be technically poor, with the camera often reflected in a mirror or lens distortion caused by an unnaturally high angle of view. However the purpose of the photograph never was to show off the subject's photographic ability, instead it is intended to portray the subject looking their best to their online friends.
A decent-ish camera combined, with an ever-ready access to social media, enables smartphone users to upload their image throughout their daily lives, no matter where they are or what they're doing. It signifies the importance of our self-image and self-promotion in the 21st century. Sometimes people take a selfie to capture a chance encounter with a celebrity or to document their visit to a famous landmark or event. It's also a convenient way of taking a photo if there is no one else you know to take it. On holiday you would often see strangers trustingly offer to take a couple or family's photograph with their camera. Nowadays though, people are more reluctant to allow a stranger to take their photograph, since their camera is their smart phone, their photo album, their gaming console, their social network, their life!
This image released by Ellen DeGeneres shows actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a "selfie" portrait
Recently the selfie craze was fuelled by the Oscars and James Corden at the Brit Awards. Now celebrities are taking photos of themselves with celebrities, and the resulting images can be 'liked' and retweeted thousands of times over across the globe, to an audience that stretches beyond the realm of television or the press. After his Brian O'Driscoll's final match for Ireland against France, Cian Healy tweeted an image of the victorious Irish Six Nations champions.
The Irish rugby team celebrated their Six Nations win in true celeb style with a victory selfie with the trophy, taken by prop Cian Healy.
On Tuesday 18th March 2014 the selfie took on a new purpose and direction. Women started to post photographs of themselves with no make-up on, to raise public awareness of breast cancer. Self-image was being used as a statement of strength and call-to-arms against this deadly disease. Using the hash tag #nomakeupselfie the challenge went viral on Twitter and Facebook, with women nominating/daring their friends to do the same. When Cancer Research learned of this they appealed to the 'selfies' to make a donation. Subsequently, social networkers would post their no make-up selfie, donate to Cancer Research and then nominate those on their friends list, and within less than a week the campaign had raised over £2 million! This outcome is even more remarkable knowing that it occurred during the week leading up to another nationwide charitable event,
For once modern technology has been used to show what is virtually real instead of virtual reality. The images of celebrities without make-up reveals a contrast between their own selfie and their celebrity self. Now that we are all able to be photographers, promoters and publicists, will images be manipulated to the extent of the extreme photoshopping that we're used to consuming?